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Movie Filmed in the Ozarks Captures Awards


In this installment of These Ozarks Hills, KSMU’s Missy Shelton talks with Marideth Sisco about the trip she made last week to Park City, Utah for the Sundance Film Festival. Much of the film “Winter’s Bone” was shot in the Ozarks and Marideth’s singing voice is featured throughout the movie. “Winter’s Bone” won two awards at Sundance. Missy Shelton talks with Marideth Sisco about the movie and her experiences at the festival.

Shelton: Joining me on the phone from West Plains is Marideth Sisco. Marideth is just getting settled back here in the Ozarks after a trip to Park City, Utah for the Sundance Film Festival. She’s in a film called “Winter’s Bone,” which took the top prize at Sundance. Marideth, can I say we’re glad to have you back in the Ozarks?Sisco: Well, I’m sure glad to be back. It was an experience out there but 40,000 people in a town the size of Park City is just too many folks.Shelton: I’m sure. And let me say congratulations on “Winter’s Bone” earning two prizes at Sundance this year, including Best Drama and the prize for screenwriting.Sisco: Thank you. We were just tickled to death. When you people really like a movie, you get your hopes up and you think that you’ve got a good chance. So, those awards come at the end of the show so we applauded for everybody else. And then it came up to the screenwriter’s prize and that went to “Winter’s Bone.” And that was the first prize that they gave us and we thought, “Oh well. That’s it. That’s the one.” So, we settled back in our seats and prepared to congratulate somebody. But when the woman on stage began to talk about the mythic journey of the hero, we looked at each other and said, “That’s us!” Then said, “Winter’s Bone.” I told somebody later, “I always thought I knew what an adrenaline rush was but I was mistaken. I found out what it really is Saturday night.”Shelton: I should mention that “Winter’s Bone” only secured a distributor during Sundance so most people in the Ozarks have not seen the movie. But you had a chance to see while you were in Utah. What did you think?Sisco: It was beyond my wildest hopes. It was hard for me…Even though I knew how good they were. And I knew they had won awards before. But it was hard for me to get around the idea that a couple of people from New York could come down here with their crew and make an authentic film about the Ozarks but by golly, they did it. Missy, they took such care along the way. This is something I only found out about in conversations with them over the last week. They even went to people’s houses in the neighborhood there where they were filming and started conversations. The actors would go in and listen to people talk so they could get the accent right. The costumer actually went into people’s clothes closets to look at what they wore and would find things like a really worn Carhart jacket. They’d trade them a new jacket for that jacket because they wanted that jacket in the film. It’s just so authentic. It’s just a slice of the really backwoods Ozarks. I hate to say backwoods because it sounds so primitive but the culture there is like the culture was 150 years ago. It hasn’t changed all that much. They may drive bigger cars but they’re about the same people. To capture that and do it with such respect, I thought it was an elegant film. I really did.Shelton: Marideth, I wish we had more time. Again, congratulations. I’d like to ask you to close out our segment today by singing the version of the Missouri Waltz that actually opens the movie. I know it’s you singing and would love to hear that as we close out here today.Sisco: Hush-a-bye my baby. Go to sleep on Mama’s knee. Journey back to these old hills in dreams again with me. It seems like your Mama was there once again. And the old folks were strumming that same old refrain. Way down in Missouri where I learned this lullaby, when the stars were blinking and the moon was shining high. And I hear Mama calling as in days long ago, singing “Hush-a-bye.”